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Himachal’s first Zero Budget crop yields 5 quintal per acre, encouraging says UHF

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Solan: Himachal Pradesh has finally harvested the first trial crop grown under the Zero Budget Natural Farming(ZBNF) model at the Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni.

As part of Centre Government’s campaign to double farmers’ income by 2022, Acharya Devvrat had been insisting the farmers to adopt zero-budget farming since the day he was appointed as the Governor of the State.

Therefore, the University picked up the ZBNF trial project after these repeated preaching of the Acharya Devvrat, Governor and the Chancellor of the University.

Harvesting in progress at the ZBNF farm

Last week, the scientists of the UHF picked up peas at the ZBNF farm that falls under the Directorate of Research of the University.

The varsity claimed the results are quite encouraging. Based on the first harvest, the production is calculated to be around 5 quintals per acre land. The team is expecting up to three pickings from the crop.

Now, the varsity will sell the harvest to locals to take a feedback on the quality of the crop.

For this trial, the research team planted two varieties of peas at the farm. The first variety was P-89 while the second variety, Azad-P1, was planted 15 days later. Both varieties have coriander as a border crop, which will be ready for sale by the end of the week.

Harvesting in progress at the ZBNF farm

The seeds were irrigated after treating them with ‘Bijamrit.

The spray of “Jivamrit” after every 15 days of germination followed it. The scientists are now evaluating the performance of the two varieties under this model.

The results have been highly encouraging and we plan to increase the crop area under this model and also expand to crops like tomato and capsicum. The pods in each plant ranged between four to eight,

said Dr. Rajeshwar Chandel, Joint Director (Forestry) and Coordinator of ZBNF at the University.

He said the first crop faced no damage from pest and diseases despite the fact that leaf minor, an insect pest, generally appears on the crop.

Opposed to, while talking to Himachal Watcher, a local farmer of Shimla termed 5q production per acre as low quantity. He also questioned the government over the arrangement of ensuring a better price for ZBNF crops in markets as compared to traditionally grown crops.

The cow dung and other components required to prepare Bijamrit and Jivamrit add to the cost if the farmer is not rearing cattle or lack sufficient cattle to produce enough dung. Cattle rearing also include expenses, the farmer said.

He expressed doubts over the government’s claim to double the farmers’ income by 2022.

While kicking- off the project on Jan 30, 2018, the Governor had stated that traditional farming uses chemical fertilizers and pesticides, while the organic farming was very costly for farmers. Both cases are not viable for the farmers’ community, he had said.  

Instead, in the ZBNF, the farmers use manure produced from cow dung, urine, jaggery and gram flour. The pesticides are produced from local products with no side-effects. Moreover, the Governor had added that zero-budget farming is producing quality equal to traditional farming.

Apart from peas, the university has also planted cauliflower, onion, and fenugreek under the ZBNF model. These crops will be ready for harvest by the end of the March 2018. Various departments of the university are also undertaking studies under this natural farming model in their research.

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4,145 New Covid Cases, 56 Deaths in 24-Hours; HP Govt Forms Paediatric Task Force to Tackle Third Wave

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Shimla-The death toll in Himachal Pradesh climbed to 2,241 on Saturday after 56 Covid patients lost their lives in the last 24-hours. Meanwhile, 4,145 new cases of infection were reported on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 1,57,862 according to official data released by the state.

Kangra district reported the highest casualties with 19 deaths, while in Shimla, 15 patients died of severe symptoms of coronavirus. 13 patients who lost their lives were below the age of 50.

Daily Covid testing on Saturday reached 15,461, out of which test results of 1,876 samples remain awaited.  According to the state health department, 17,12,566 people have received their first dose of vaccine till Saturday, while 4,34,307 people across the state have received both doses of Covid vaccine.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 15, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

daily cases in himachal

As the rate of new cases and fatality remains high, the corona curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been extended till May 26 after a meeting of the state government cabinet was held on Saturday. The state also announced some rules and provisions to curb the spread of infection in the state. Medical Colleges, Zonal and Regional Hospitals, and hospitals with a bed capacity of 200 and above were allowed to hire vans to carry dead bodies. Weddings in the state are now only to take place in residences or courts, with a maximum gathering of 20 people.

The state government also held a high-level meeting on Saturday to constitute a Paediatric Task Force to tackle the anticipated third wave. According to reports, the third wave will most likely affect children and teenagers. Earlier this month, the principal scientific adviser to the central government, K VijayRaghavan, had said at a briefing that the high levels of the virus meant “a phase 3 is inevitable.”

The Paediatric Task Force would study the availability of medical infrastructure in various Pediatric Intensive Care Units, Neonatal Intensive Care Units, Sick Newborn Care Units, and Newborn Stabilization Units, to formulate plans for augmentation of machinery, equipment, and Human Resources.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 15, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Curfew in Himachal Extended, Free Wood for Cremation, Marriages Allowed Only in Homes or Courts

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Shimla-Corona Curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been extended further till May 26 as the state has witnessed no respite in a surge in daily Covid-19. The decision was taken after a meeting of the HP Government Cabinet today.

To check the exodus of labourers and workers all the shops dealing with construction materials would also remain open on Tuesday and Friday a week for three hours.

The Cabinet also decided to allow hiring dead body vans to all the Medical Colleges and Zonal and Regional Hospitals and hospitals with a bed capacity of 200 and above.  The forest department would provide free wood for the cremation of corona deceased where forest rights are enforced. The forest corporation would provide fuelwood in other areas. All the MCs would be allowed to hire dead body vans.

The Cabinet also decided that no marriages would be allowed to hire marriage palaces, community halls and tent houses and outside catering and DJ/Band. Marriage would be only held in houses or Courts with the restriction of 20 persons. There will also be no procession of Barat.

The Cabinet gave its consent to fill up 219 posts of different categories on a contract basis under the National Health Mission in the State to provide better health care facilities to the people.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to procure CT Scan 128 slice and MRI 1.5 Tesla Machines worth Rs. 20 crore in Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Government Medical College, Chamba to facilitate the people.

It accorded its approval its ex-post-facto permission to the executing agency of Makeshift Covid-19 Hospital at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College, Ner Chowk Mandi to include construction of one labour room and one operation theatre etc. to facilitate the people.

It also decided to open Health Sub Centre at Sartyaula in Mandi district alongwith creation of requisite posts to man the Sub Centre.

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Himachal’s Distressed Tourism Industry Stakeholders Write to CM Jairam Thakur, Seeks Financial Package

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Shimla-Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association on Friday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur seeking financial aid from the state government to save the industry amid COVID-19 resurgence. They also highlighted the shared plight of hotels and restaurants falling in debt and failing to provide for the expenses.

“Since the beginning of last year, hotel industry continues to take hits due to the coronavirus. A seven-to-eight-month long lockdown in the entire country affected industry stakeholders. Tourism industry appeared to have revived in the month of October and expectations were high for the next tourist season” the association said.

Several hoteliers and restaurants had spent on maintenance hoping for a good season this year. But since most of the states have now imposed lockdowns, all hopes were dashed to the ground and the industry is facing a huge financial crisis.

The tourism units are not able to pay the interest and EMI of loans raised by them due to loss faced by the industry for the consecutive second year. The stakeholders fearthat  the loan raised by them may slip to NPA

The Association said that hoteliers and businessmen involved in the hospitality industry did not receive any relief from the government and managed their units/services by spending from savings or by raising loans.

The units have somehow managed to pay salaries and other expenses for the April month, the association said, but expressed inability to do so for the May month as the working capital has dropped to zero.

Mohinder Seth, President, Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association, has written to the Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India and Governor, RBI, requesting for the deferment of loans and to save the loans from becoming NPA.

Seth has also requested the central government to provide Himachal Pradesh’s tourism industry with a financial package to deal with the devastation caused by the second wave of COVID-19.

“We support the measures taken by the government to break the chain of coronavirus. If the government plans on extending the lockdown to seventeen more days, we will support the decision because we understand the need to save people’s life is important. Similarly, it is important to save the industry – source of employment to lakhs of people. We request honorable CM to extend financial aid to the industry stakeholders,” Mohinder Seth concluded.

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